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Role of TCM in easing pregnancy discomfort | Yi TCM

Role of TCM in easing pregnancy discomfort

02 Feb 2024

By: Sheryl Tay

Easing Pregnancy Discomfort with Acupuncture

Discover the holistic benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) throughout your pregnancy journey and beyond! TCM treatments aren’t just effective for improving fertility; they can also complement Western medicine, enhancing the chances of conception and supporting women through every stage of pregnancy and postpartum. Experience the natural relief TCM offers for common pregnancy discomforts and symptoms, providing a safe alternative to medications often contraindicated during pregnancy. Embrace the miraculous journey of pregnancy with TCM’s gentle and holistic approach, promoting maternal well-being and nurturing both mother and baby.

Here’s how TCM can assist you:

  1. Alleviating Discomfort: 

While it is common to experience symptoms during pregnancy, it may be helpful to seek TCM treatments when it becomes too uncomfortable for you to ensure a more comfortable and happy pregnancy. TCM emphasizes the balance of vital energy (Qi) and blood circulation. Acupuncture and herbal medicine are usually prescribed to optimize these essential elements, promoting a harmonious environment for both you and your baby, thereby relieving the discomfort experienced during pregnancy. Common pregnancy symptoms include:

  • Morning sickness

    1. Acupuncture and herbal medication are effective ways to help relieve nausea vomiting 

    2. Home tips to help relieve morning sickness: Massaging acupoint 内关 1-2 minutes every day helps to relieve nausea. Drinking ginger tea can also help alleviate some discomfort due to morning sickness.

Systemic Therapeutic effect | Yi TCM
Systemic Therapeutic effect 1

More severe cases of nausea vomiting, would require a consultation with a physician to diagnose your body constitution and prescribe acupuncture and/or herbal medication to treat. Common body constitution in ladies with morning sickness:

Spleen stomach weakness, liver stomach disharmony and qi yin deficiency are 3 reasons for pregnancy discomfort | Yi TCM
  • Constipation

Constipation is described as infrequent bowel movements or difficulty in removing bowels. It has been estimated that approximately 11% to 38% of pregnant women experience constipation.  Pregnancy predisposes women to developing constipation due to physiologic and anatomic changes in the gastrointestinal tract. There is increased water absorption from the intestines, which causes stool to dry out. Decreased maternal activity and increased vitamin supplementation (eg, iron and calcium) can further contribute to constipation. 

Acupuncture can effectively re-regulate bowel movements by helping to get the circulation flowing again and bringing moisture to the area if needed. Acupuncture treatment can help open blockages, stimulate peristalsis, and bring on a bowel movement. Massaging 支沟 acupoint 1-2 minutes daily could help with pregnancy constipation.

ZhiGou acupoint is located 4 fingers from the wrist crease, between the ulna and radious bones | Yi TCM
  • Insomnia and fatigue

Insomnia describes the difficulty in falling asleep and not having restful sleep. 

A study done suggested that an average of 45.7% pregnant women suffer from poor quality of sleep. Sleep problems and changes in sleep patterns start during the first trimester of pregnancy, most likely influenced by the rapid changes in reproductive hormone levels. Sleep during the first trimester is also disturbed due to nausea or vomiting. In the third trimester, sleep disturbances are due to general discomfort caused by backache, urinary frequency, fetal movements, GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) and leg discomfort. Poor sleep translates to daytime effects including hypersomnia, fatigue and mood changes. 

Studies have shown that acupuncture can significantly improve the sleep quality in pregnant women, possibly through increasing melatonin secretion, and could be recommended as a low-risk alternative treatment to pharmacological therapies. Massaging 百会 acupoint could help with pregnancy insomnia.

Baihui acupoint is located on the highest point on the head | Yi TCM
  • Pain

Acupuncture provides effective support for patients experiencing aches and pains, be it headaches, bodily aches such as neck pains and backaches. Pregnancy could be uncomfortable and experiencing aches and pain could worsen quality of life and daily functioning of pregnant ladies. Acupuncture is considered as a safe, non-pharmacological treatment option that is being increasingly used to provide relief from discomfort during the pregnancy.


Acupuncture done by a licensed physician is safe. The physician would avoid some acupuncture points which are contraindicated for pregnant ladies

  1. Support pregnancy: TCM treatment after conception can help support the embryo’s attachment and reduce the risk of miscarriage. It can also reduce stress and anxiety, which can positively impact the success of the pregnancy.
  2. Supporting Mental and Emotional Well-being: Pregnancy often comes with a range of emotions. TCM takes into account the mind-body connection, offering treatments that help manage stress, anxiety, and mood swings. A more positive pregnancy experience may positively impact the baby’s development.
  3. Preparing for Labor: TCM can play a vital role in preparing your body for labor. Our physicians can provide guidance on exercises, dietary adjustments, and herbal support tailored to your specific needs.

Even though TCM has its benefits, it is important to note that it should not substitute Western medical care during your pregnancy. It can provide complementary care, but it is vital to visit your gynaecologist regularly to monitor the progress of your pregnancy.

Pregnancy can bring about various changes in your body, and TCM offers a holistic approach to address these changes naturally. Our experienced TCM physicians specialize in providing personalized care to expectant mothers, focusing on enhancing overall well-being and promoting a healthy pregnancy.